As it appeared in the Daily Nation on September 29th 2020
Dr Lucy Kiruthu
The COVID-19 crisis has not prevented entrepreneurs from generating new and innovative business ideas. Largely, new businesses ideas come from diverse sources. Every time I speak to a real entrepreneur, I am curious to find out how they started their business. By a real entrepreneur, I mean one that has built a viable business not a tenderpreneur. For some entrepreneurs, previous experience in the industry gave them the push to start their own business. For others, they simply thought through what can be done or what needs to be improved and they acted. Some entrepreneurs have built their businesses based on a problem they identified and their motivation was to provide a solution. These are just but a few examples of how new business ideas are generated.
During the COVID-19 season, some people swiftly generated new business ideas because they found themselves in a difficult situation. When one loses a job or a business unexpectedly, it is not always easy to bounce back and move on into the next business. Ordinarily, starting a new business requires preparation. Many questions go into our mind and we might want to take time and prepare. Such questions include: What product? What service? Is there a market? What location? Who are the competitors? Is it the time right? What is the investment going to be like? How will the revenues be? Will the business succeed? However, most of the new businesses ideas that have sprung up during this season did so without much preparation. There was not much time to plan, what was needed was action! In a country where there are no unemployment benefits, immediate support of livelihoods remains critical. For some, it was both urgent and important and get moving!
In the last few months, I have had an opportunity to interact with a few Kenyans that have started new businesses. I have also come across many innovative business ideas across the globe that have emanated from the crisis. The COVID-19 crisis got some into a business almost by accident. For example, a former college mate whose earlier focus was on sports decided to go into chicken farming and processing during this COVID season. His Jomba brand of chicken is starting to take shape. Another young man started an online grocery delivery shop in his neighbourhood and it seems to be thriving. It is evident that COVID-19 has given and continues to give rise to business ideas that are likely to be viable.
If you are still holding on to your business idea, consider testing it out. Only through testing an idea can one know if it will work. Start small and scale once the business idea passes the test stage. If you are still looking for a business idea, think of a problem or something that causes frustration and create a solution. Businesses start from an idea. I strongly believe that small and medium enterprises will continue to spur our economy. Some of the businesses that have been launched during this COVID-19 season provide an opportunity to fast track our economic recovery. It is time to test out that business idea!
Dr Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy